Press Release: TRADITION AND CHANGE: Vietnamese Art Today

TRADITION AND CHANGE: Vietnamese Art Today
2251 R Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008
Dates: July 12 to 24, 2004
Exhibition hours: Monday to Saturday, 11 AM to 5 PM, or by appointment
Contacts: - Bach Ngoc Chien – Press Attaché, Tel: 202-861-2291
- Judith Hughes Day – Curator, Tel: 212-721-3053,

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the United States of America, the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington D.C. is inaugurating a series of cultural events with the exhibition of contemporary Vietnamese art, TRADITION AND CHANGE: Vietnamese Art Today. Opening July 12, 2004, at the Embassy at 2251 R Street, NW, the exhibition will feature two paintings by each of fifteen of Vietnam's most respected artists.

Included will be work by Buu Chi, Dang Xuan Hoa, Dinh Thi Tham Poong, Do Quang Em, Hong Viet Dung, Le Quoc Viet, Nguyen Bach Dan, Nguyen Thanh Binh, Nguyen Tu Nghiem, Nguyen Trung, Nguyen Van Cuong, Pham Luan, Phan Cam Thuong, Tran Luu Hau, and Trinh Quoc Chien. A generational range is represented, from 82 year old Nguyen Tu Nghiem, who received his education at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de l'Indochine, started by Victor Tardieu, a classmate of Matisse, when the French ruled Vietnam, to Dinh Thi Tham Poong, Le Quoc Viet, Nguyen Bach Dan, and Nguyen Van Cuong--all in their early 30s, and all educated at the Vietnamese taught Hanoi College of Fine Arts, the successor to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

With the development of their diverse individual styles, most contemporary Vietnamese artists employ uniquely Vietnamese elements--sometimes traditional mediums (ink on paper, natural mineral color on silk, and woodblock prints) and often traditional subjects from national legends, mythological or religious beliefs. More Western mediums such as oil on canvas and gouache and watercolor on paper are also used by many artists, in part from their earlier grounding in French techniques and more recent exposure to modern influences.

Their wide spectrum of traditions, experience, mediums, and motifs leads to the great variety of painting styles of contemporary Vietnamese artists. TRADITION AND CHANGE exemplifies the enormous diversity of the art created in Vietnam today.

These artists are located in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hue, representing the northern and southern areas of their country, as well as the central part. Among this group, Dinh Thi Tham Poong is from the far northern ethnic areas whose people are subjects of her work. Some of the artists are self-taught, others have received a classical art education.

All fifteen artists have stories to tell with their artwork, and all have shown their work internationally: throughout Asia, in Europe, and in the United States. More detailed biographies of the artists are available on the website

July 2, 2004